Ethan Walker has just climbed his first 8B boulder problem with an ascent of Keen Roof at Raven Tor in the Peak District. Impressively, Ethan took just two serious sessions to climb the problem, though did first have a look at the problem five years ago.
Keen Roof was first climbed by James Pearson, and saw it's first repeats in 2009 (UKC Bouldering Report). The problem starts up Ben's Roof, a classic 7C+, and then breaks out right across the roof and out of the cave. This was the next level for Ethan, who improved his trad and sport level to E9 and 8c last year. On his blog Ethan commented:
"I really strive to excel at all disciplines of climbing, (bar maybe that ice stuff....) and while last year I managed to break into the next level with my sport climbing, by doing 8c and then E9 on trad, my bouldering was something I really wanted to try and push further this time around."
Ethan had tried the problem 5 years ago but had not made enough progress to be worth devoting a large period of time to the problem. Making the most of a load of pads at the crag the weekend before last, he started by trying the crux move to the lip and surprised himself by doing it quickly and climbing through to the top of the problem straight away. Ethan commented further on this surprise effort:
"I was in state of slight shock at how straight forward it felt and quickly realised that I might actually be strong enough to pull this off. All I needed to do was link in a handful of starting moves and it'd be in the bag."
With bad skin and a tired body from a long session Ethan could not link the problem that day, resolving to rest for a day before coming back to climb the problem. After arriving at the crag, finding it to be in less than ideal condition, Ethan warmed up and began trying the problem, figuring that at least he would be able to get the moves figured out for a better day. On his first try from the start, Ethan slapped to the lip but missed the good hold, with his next go he stuck this move but fell on the match. Ethan knew it was on for the next go, and successfully topped it out on his third go from the start for a very quick send. Ethan described the actual ascent:
"The next try I instantly knew everything felt 100% better, pulling through the roof moves, sticking the lip slap with ease and coming around into the match felt bomber. Throwing the heel up I focused in and fired up to the finishing jug! Job done. It almost seemed a bit of an anti-climax. I hung there for a second or two to enable my brain to try and process what had just happened. I had just climbed my first V13."
Although he didn't get the actual ascent on film, Ethan had enough left to do the problem again in a couple of overlapping sections to make this video: